August 13, 2012

Little Pnuts - Like a Best Friend In the Toy Biz

I probably spend far more time than the average parent checking out baby and kid's toys so when I say that something exceeded my expectations, you know it has to be good!  A few months ago I found myself corresponding with Melissa, the founder of Little Pnuts.  Little Pnuts is a high-end toy delivery service that sends a quarterly "Special Delivery" box of toys to your child or a gift recipient.

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I'll often tweet about the toys and books we test out and love.  Melissa frequently knew exactly which item I was talking about and also had some great suggestions of new items to try.

It's pretty difficult to find a toy that I haven't heard of so one day I decided to ask Melissa what her favorite toy for summer play was and figured it would probably be something I had on my radar already.  She told me that she loved the Haba water park because it was an outdoor activity but required imagination, creativity and problem solving skills.



I was surprised to hear of this awesome toy I had known nothing about.  I can count on one hand how many times that has happened before with fingers left to spare.  Let me just say that we have since acquired a Haba water park and have had several fun mornings at the beach where it was the main attraction for all kids under 8 and a lot of their parents.  To me this was proof that Melissa had true street cred as a toy picker extroidinare.

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One thing I think is fantastic about Little Pnuts is that their Special Deliveries are filled with only high quality toys from reputable brands, not surprisingly many of which are European.   Several of them are also pretty hard to find in the US unless you really know where to look.  Flashing lights? Toys that eat batteries? Unlike most of the toys for babies and young kids that crowd the shelves in the big box stores you won't find things like that from Little Pnuts.

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Little Pnuts will start shipping to the public in September but Melissa and the Little Pnuts team sent us two different boxes to test out a few weeks back.  My niece, Lily who was almost 10 months old was in town visiting and she got to check out one of the Infant Special Delivery boxes for ages 9-12 months.

One of the best things about Little Pnuts is how targeted the toys are to your child's age.   Anyone who has a baby knows that there is a world of difference in what is appealing and appropriate for a 6 month old versus a 10 month old and those few months make a huge difference.


So what was in the 9-12 month old box?

- A fish castanet from Plan Toys (one of my personal favorite toy brands)
- A soft plush stacking ball from Haba - each piece has a different sensory element like a squeaker, crinkle tissue or a rattle inside
-A Sevi giraffe pull toy that's just the right size for tiny people
-A ridiculously cute stacking owl from Janod that has fabric and wood pieces


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As we opened up the different toys you could see an immediate interest in her eyes.  We started with the Haba Stacking Ball and Lily enjoyed playing with the individual pieces and tossing them around.  When she discovered they also made different noises she was even more interested.

Kayla, feeling like the older cousin (and quite cool because of it) decided to help Lily stack them since it was beyond her own capabilities - at least for now. There was also a very sweet moment for my sister when she rolled the ball to Lily and Lily figured out how to roll it back to her. 

For me it was exciting to watch Lily and feel like I could actually see the little gears turning in her head as she contemplated the Plan Toys fish castanet trying to figure out just what it did.


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Since Lily fell in the middle of the age range on the 9-12 month Special Delivery she couldn't yet use the Sevi giraffe as a pull toy since she can't walk yet but she did enjoy checking out its bright colors and the string (which seems like a pretty safe length.)  Now, at 11 months old, Lily is more mobile and ready to take this giraffe along.

The Janod owl also fell into this category - Lily can't stack it but she could enjoy the colored pieces and the different textures and she loved knocking it over when Kayla would stack it for her.  It was very neat to see the two of them playing with it together and giggling the whole time.

Little Pnuts subscriptions are available in two different ways.  You can choose an annual or monthly subscription.  The monthly costs $25 while the annual is $240.  In either scenario your Little Pnut will receive a box of total joy quarterly.

Want to find out what was in the Preschool Special Delivery box?  Want to win one of the very first Little Pnuts Special Deliveries?  Check back in on Thursday this week for both!

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